University Serves as Host for Law Enforcement Training and Future Educators

April 20, 2017

On occasion Saint Leo University is asked by outside organizations to hold large membership meetings or training sessions at University Campus. Visitor groups find the campus is convenient for members traveling from around Florida and a beautiful site, as well. Students on campus benefit from opportunities to observe and interact with professionals in their fields.

FBI conducts field training with agentsFor instance, on April 7, the university allowed the Federal Bureau of Investigation access to the Saint Leo “Crime Scene House” for an agent-training exercise. The 1950s-era single-family home is a special asset that came to the university as part of a broader land-and-building purchase a few years ago. At first, the uninhabited dwelling seemed to have no purpose or value, but the Criminal Justice Department asked if the university would keep it intact so that some forensics training classes could be moved there from the university quad. The home setting is more realistic for students, and has been well used for its new purpose.

FBI conducts field training with agentsThe FBI liked the idea, as well, and through connections with criminal justice faculty members, arranged a training exercise for several hours. Agents brought a truck equipped with materials to investigate a staged crime scene, based on a real-life incident. Several students had the opportunity to observe as the agency investigated the premises, both inside and out.

The same week, on Saturday, February 8, the Education Department hosted more than 250 visitors to its University Campus for the Annual Teacher Recruitment and Professional Development Symposium (Central Florida Region), organized by the Florida Fund for Minority Teachers Inc. It was the first time Saint Leo has served as a host site for the event, which matches recruiters from school districts with minority scholarship recipients who are college junior and seniors preparing to enter the teaching field. Dr. Fern Aefsky, director of the Education Department at Saint Leo (pictured), welcomed the large group and encouraged their commitment to teaching, as did the inspiring keynote speaker, Precious Symonette, the 2017 Miami-Dade County Public Schools Teacher of the Year. Some Saint Leo educators also delivered professional development sessions offered during the day, such as “A Resilient Mindset: Vital for 21st Century Educators,” from Saint Leo faculty member Tammy Quick.

dr. fern aefsky speaking at the Annual Teacher Recruitment and Professional Development Symposium

The Criminal Justice and Education departments fall under the School of Education and Social Services, and Dean Susan Kinsella is happy to see such examples of interaction between the university and external organizations. “All of our programs have student internships and Community Advisory Groups, so partnering with local schools, nonprofit organizations, and law enforcement agencies is crucial to meeting the learning objectives in our courses,” Dr. Kinsella said. “These partnerships help students connect theory in the classroom to practice in the internship setting. Our programs in Education, Criminal Justice, Social Work, and Human Services all teach from a base of knowledge, values, and skills.”